Power of Education
Sephora Thurel

Séphora Thurel was a Broadcom Vitality Program resident from the fifth cohort that ended in Fall 2022. She is a Canadian citizen from Montreal and attended the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). With a keen lifelong interest in technology, Sephora is motivated most by any challenge that seems impossible.

While most kids dreamt of becoming astronauts or race car drivers, I always knew I wanted to work with computers. I’ve been interested in technology for as long as I can remember, which can be credited to my parents who are also tech enthusiasts- especially my self-taught father. And today, I feel very fortunate for that influence. Having experienced life as a Broadcom Mainframe Vitality Program resident, no challenge is impossible. I owe gratitude to the many wonderful people who mentored me, and it’s an understatement to say that the Mainframe Vitality Program supercharged my IT career.  

Getting Started in the IT Workforce 

I went through school with the mindset of pursuing my passion. If you have a passion—regardless of what it may be—my advice is to relentlessly chase it. Not knowing with certainty where I’d ultimately be using my education, I did just that: I chased my passion. I chose a bachelor’s degree that matched my interests in hardware and software. After completing a three year program, I earned a Bachelor’s in Computer and Electronic Systems from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) in 2021. 

But my earned success to that point didn’t come without adversity. Given the timing of graduation directly in the heat of unprecedented times due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, workforce projections were confusing to even the most seasoned economists. It was difficult to find a job posting with fewer than four years’ experience required. How, then, would I accomplish my goal of pursuing a lifelong dream of working in corporate technology?  

Gaining Real-World IT Experience in the Mainframe Ecosystem 

Fresh out of college, and eager to gain real-world experience, I sought various training programs and was scouted by the Broadcom Vitality team, who introduced me to the mainframe. At the time, I began to realize that my college curriculum severely lacked detail on mainframe education, and therefore, I only had a basic understanding of it. After some research, I became enthralled with how much of the world’s tech stack was powered by mainframes. I liked where this was going! 

With clear objectives and projected opportunities outlined, I jumped on the opportunity and registered for the 24-week program.  

Guided IT Training, Mentors and Personal Growth  

After earning a challenging degree in Computer and Electronic Systems, I felt prepared to handle any challenge, including the Vitality Program. Despite warnings about its workload, I learned that the most fulfilling endeavors are often the most challenging. While I did anticipate dedicating substantial effort to understanding the curriculum, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of integration and support Broadcom provided to me with the broader mainframe community. Throughout the training, we had access to mentors, teachers, and peers, which created a cohesive experience. 

I am also grateful for the flexible learning schedule. Even though it was a packed schedule, the program was still flexible. We were given time off for holidays as well as days off to review and prepare. As a bonus to personal growth, the program even enhanced my social skills. I am naturally a shy person, but interacting so much with the group made me shed a bit of that shyness. 

Unlike some technical certifications, the teachers and mentors were always available—even on weekends. I also appreciated the quality of mentors and the effort put into the learning program to make sure every detail was understood. The training was a guided experience, which helped with keeping focus and reassurance of all next steps. The advice from previous program graduates was also invaluable. At every step of the program, mentors worked together to provide the best information possible to our group. 

After completing the program last fall (as the fifth cohort to do so) I am beyond excited about the career opportunities that lie ahead. My sincere thanks goes to the efforts of everybody involved in making the Broadcom Mainframe Vitality Program possible. I encourage everyone to consider this program—whether you have a computer-oriented background, or not.  

In fact, many residents are single mothers, veterans, and folks with a minimal technical background. Yes, the program will be difficult. But the opportunities and people you meet along the way are well worth it. Working with the mainframe is a very advantageous and secure career path—after all, mainframes make the world go ‘round.  

About the Mainframe Vitality Program 

Since its inception in 2019, Broadcom’s Mainframe Vitality Program has trained, certified, and placed hundreds of new mainframe employees with leading companies around the world (including Broadcom). When faced with a lean mainframe staff or low budget, mainframe training often takes a backseat. In addition, key mainframe talent is retiring, and qualified replacements are not readily available. The Vitality Program reverses those trends. With decades of mainframe expertise and training assets, Broadcom Mainframe Software partners with customers in need to hire, train, and mentor the next generation of mainframers.

I am a member of the mainframe community. I am excited to join in on the conversation.